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Fear the law, not me – Lungu

STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
PRESIDENT Lungu says some people are mischievously using his name to intimidate permanent secretaries into doing wrong things and has warned that he will disown such controlling officers.
The President said out of fear, some controlling officers have made wrong decisions which are against the law and regulations.
“Several people have made decisions in my name against the law fearing that the President will fall on them like a tonne of bricks. I am not that type of President because I know what is good and what is wrong,” President Lungu said.
He said this at State House yesterday after swearing in eight controlling officers.
Those sworn in are Mushuma Mulenga as national coordinator, private sector development, industrialisation and job creation at Cabinet office; Juliana Chilombo as permanent secretary, parliamentary business division in the office of the Vice-President; and Dick Shichembe as Accountant General at the Ministry of Finance.
Others are Ministry of National Development Planning permanent secretary for development planning and administration Chola Chabala and Ministry of Tourism and Arts permanent secretary Liya Mutale.
The rest are Commissioner of Lands Wilfred Muma; Copperbelt permanent secretary Elias Kamanga and Northern Province permanent secretary Jobbicks Kalumba.
President Lungu said some people falsely tell controlling officers that he had issued instructions, and out of fear they (controlling officers) implement wrong decisions.
He advised them to simply look at the rules, the constitution, financial regulations and all the relevant statutes and the policies that Government has made.
“The buck stops at you. When auditors come, it is you they query. So, reflect and cross-check. If I want to give you instructions from State House, I will call you and interface with you and say this is how I feel it should be done.
“Don’t let the name of the President make you tremble and do wrong things because I don’t instruct anyone to do wrong because I know the law,” President Lungu said.
The head of state advised permanent secretaries to cross-check things and even tell their ministers what the rules say.
“I am holding you accountable. If anyone does something wrong in a ministry, the buck stops at you.  Even your ministers tell them ‘sorry honourable minister, the rules are these’. You can only go that far.
“Provide leadership. So help us to provide the best for this country. Zambians are not wrong to have trusted PF. We won three times in five years. We have won elections because people have confidence in us and I also have confidence in you. If you let me down, I will let you down. You have been hired and so you can be fired. Place yourself in a position of relevance and do the right thing,” President Lungu said.
And the head of State has urged controlling officers to be courteous to people.
He said good manners are also part of good leadership.
“Please be nice and courteous to people. Be kind. Even the letters that you write, use polite words. Be civil. We are where we are because of them. You shut the door in their faces, bang the phones on them, that is not good,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Kamanga has praised President Lungu for appointing young people to leadership positions.
Mr Kamanga said his appointment as permanent secretary consolidates President Lungu’s vision for the youth.
He was speaking in an interview at State House shortly after being sworn in.
“Young people are no longer leaders of the future. We are leaders of today. Even my minister (Bowman Lusambo) is a young person. This solidifies President Lungu’s belief in young people,” Mr Kamanga said.
He said the Copperbelt is important to Zambia and the President has appointed young people to head it.
“President Lungu has done what many Presidents have not done – to believe in young people,” Mr Kamanga said.


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